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29 May 2013

SA business events delegation returns from successful IMEX 2013

The South African National Convention Bureau announced several new and innovative developments at IMEX 2013.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk with members of the South African delegation at IMEX 2013 Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk with members of the South African delegation at IMEX 2013

‘IMEX 2013 proved to be an excellent platform for lead generation, which will ultimately drive South Africa’s business events industry goal of achieving its 5.3% growth targets over the next seven years. – Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, SANCB executive manager

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk was among a powerful South African delegation that attended IMEX 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany. The delegation included the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) as well as 25 exhibitors. Among these were 10 destination management companies, South Africa's three main convention centres, six convention bureaus, five hotels/hotel chains, and one luxury train company.

Minister van Schalkwyk joined politicians from 28 countries at the IMEX Politicians Forum – a platform for leaders of the global meetings, incentive travel and events industries to meet government ministers and policymakers. 

At the forum, Minister van Schalkwyk highlighted the importance of the South African business events sector. ‘As part of our business events strategy we would like to see broad recognition in South Africa of the business events industry as a major driver of job creation, skills development and transformation of the nation’s knowledge and creative economy,’ he told delegates.

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, SANCB executive manager, also announced several new developments at IMEX 2013.

She told IMEX media that the SANCB will become the first convention bureau globally to roll out a provincial customer relationship management (CRM) system for the benefit of its regional convention bureaus. The SANCB will be implementing Simpleview, the world’s leading CRM system, which will ensure cost-effective bidding among South Africa’s convention bureaus.

‘This will improve our effectiveness and ensure better coordination in securing future business for the destination, and avoid costly bid-offs,’ she said.

Kotze-Nhlapo also announced that the SANCB is finalising its subvention policy in preparation for setting up a dedicated subvention fund. The aim of the fund, she said, will be to assist business event organisers to plan and organise successful meetings and conferences in South Africa. ‘The development of sound bidding policies agreed between the convention bureaus is improving our competitiveness in the international market,’ she commented.

IMEX 2013 saw a 21% rise in appointments between buyers and exhibitors during the show to 64 000 appointments, with just under 4 000 hosted buyers attending the show.

‘IMEX 2013 proved to be an excellent platform for lead generation, which will ultimately drive South Africa's business events industry goal of achieving its 5.3% growth targets over the next seven years,’ said Kotze-Nhlapo.

Elmarie Delport, Tsogo Sun sales manager: groups and conferences, concurred. ‘Once again IMEX selected quality buyers showing a keen interest in bringing business to South Africa, laying foundations for strong business partnerships going forward.’

An elated James Seymour, CEO of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, said the bureau had an extremely productive IMEX. ‘Some 50 pre-scheduled and walk-up meetings were held with prospective business event buyers, and these yielded more than seven actual request for proposals,’ he said.

The SANCB, together with provincial and city convention bureaus, submitted 46 bids for the 2012/13 financial year. The economic value of these 46 submissions is more than R1,04-blllion and has the potential to attract 76 589 delegates to South Africa.

The South African delegation also participated in the ICCA Africa Chapter meeting at IMEX 2013. South Africa increased the number of qualifying association conferences it hosted in 2012 by 15% to 96, up from 86 in 2011.

It remains the top destination for association meetings on the continent, with five of its cities ranked in the continent’s top 10 business events destinations. Cape Town is still ranked the number one destination for business events in Africa, with Johannesburg ranked second, Durban fourth, Stellenbosch – which has never previously featured in the ICCA rankings – seventh, and Pretoria ninth. Johannesburg doubled the number of association meetings it hosted in 2012.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) also won gold when it was announced the winner of the prestigious IMEX Green Supplier Award. The Green Supplier Award recognises environmental excellence and innovation within the meetings industry and represents the highest accolade for environmental responsibility among meeting suppliers. Within this category, both Gold and Silver Awards are presented annually.

Rashid Toefy, CTICC CEO, said the CTICC is honoured to be the recipient of the award: ‘As a convention centre whose business principles are built around the ethos of sustainability, environmental and social considerations form part of our DNA. We have managed to incorporate these into every facet of our business. This commitment to sustainability has, in turn, shaped the thinking and approach of our suppliers and conference and exhibition organisers.’